PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL -- Newly formed National Kiddie Rides LLC made its debut at this year's International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions show, launching a three-rider carousel. The new Horsin' Around ride was designed by company founder A.J. Kress, who serves as president and chief operating officer of the new manufacturer.
"Our goal is not to reinvent the kiddie ride," Kress explained. "Rather, we are looking to reinvent the operator's view of these machines. Kiddie rides are plus business to an operator's existing route, including those who run jukeboxes and pool tables."
Kress is himself an operator, running Florida Music & Vending here. In his view, many fellow operators are overlooking the potential of modern, well maintained and intelligently placed kiddie rides to bolster route earnings and add value for appropriate locations. Kress has been running kiddie rides for the past seven months.
In addition to the brand-new carousel, which is proprietary to NKR, the company plans to distribute other rides from well-known manufacturers -- Jolly Roger among them. NKR is marketing these on a nonexclusive basis to facilitate one-stop shopping by operators.
Many features of the new Horsin' Around ride were prompted by operational experience. These include a robust structural-steel welded frame, stronger and larger driveshaft and gear than is common on small carousels, and a heavy-duty No. 40 roller drive chain. It is supplied with a T-post cart for easy moving and placement, and it incorporates an onboard jack system for use in raising the ride for service. It also is fitted with three service area lights to improve visibility while performing maintenance.
PHOTOS: A.J. Kress shows off National Kiddie Rides' three-passenger kiddie ride at the IAAPA Attractions Expo. It has a 53" diameter and stands about 9 feet high (at the tip of the canopy). At right, Kress demonstrates the onboard jacking system, which lifts the ride's base 8" for service clearance.
The ride offers an operator-adjustable attract mode, a long-life 12V. LED illumination system with one-time customizable color LEDs in red, blue or green, customizable music stored on a Secure Digital (SD) memory card and a safety message available in several languages. It is engineered for smooth starting and deceleration, and is fitted with an adjustable ride timer and payment system. One of the three horses is molded with a toddler saddle equipped with a seat belt to accommodate very young children. An independent movement assembly allows each horse to move up and down.
NKR plans to grow as a manufacturer, distributor and operator of coin-actuated kiddie rides. Founder and management team leader A.J. Kress, a second-generation industry member, brings diverse experience to his new enterprise. He worked for a vending machine manufacturer, ran a family fun center and built a street route in Elmsford, NY, north of New York City, before establishing his Palm Beach Gardens operation. Al Kress of Benchmark Games (Hypoluxo, FL), A.J.'s father, is applying his exhaustive knowledge of the business to aid NKR in elaborating its marketing strategy. NKR is not a part of Benchmark.
Horsin' Around has a sticker price of $9,995. Information about NKR products and revenue-share opportunities may be had by calling A.J. Kress at (561) 331-1000. The company is constructing a website at nationalkiddierides.com, which is now live and nearing completion.